January 17, 2008

Briscoe to receive Distinguished Service Award

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees, meeting in Edwardsville today (Jan. 17), voted to honor one of the University's former professors for his work as a scholar and with the community.

David L. Briscoe will receive the SIUC Distinguished Service Award during graduate school commencement ceremonies in May in Carbondale. Briscoe currently is a tenured sociology professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The SIUC Honorary Degree and Distinguished Service Award Committee recommended Briscoe for the award, in consultation with other University leaders. The committee is comprised of faculty and constituency members.

In voting if favor of the resolution to present the award, the board considered Briscoe's long and avid devotion to community service, including the Boy Scouts of America and other organizations.

In 2000, the Arkansas House of Representatives appointed him to the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, where he helped plan the state's 2000 and 2002 National Youth Assemblies. Those events helped educate thousands of youths in Arkansas and across the country. He also helped organize the 2001 Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Conference, which brought together 600 community leaders from Arkansas and adjoining states for discussions on civic, political, social and economic issues.

Briscoe also has worked with the Boy Scouts of America for more than 43 years, touching the lives of an estimated 20 million youths during the past four decades. He serves on the National Scoutreach Committee, National Order of the Arrow Committee, National Cub Scout Committee, National Camping Task Force, National Diversity Task Force and National Junior Leader Training Task Force. Each of these groups develops polices and programs that affect hundreds of thousands of Boy Scouts throughout the United States.

Briscoe was particularly involved with the National Order of the Arrow Scoutreach Mentoring Program. The program, which he led, created a national mentoring program for 160,000 members of the Order of the Arrow, who then had the opportunity to mentor urban and rural troops whose camping advancement programs were below standards. The program also created accompanying Web sites and training CDs for 14,000 conference participants at the National Order of the Arrow conferences in 2000 and 2002.

Briscoe continues his work with the organization today, presenting seminars and serving on staffs and committees and continuing his financial support, earning the titles of James E. West Fellow, Baden Powell Fellow, Bronze Member of the Order of the Condor. The United States Foundation for International Scouting also named him a World Scouter.

Briscoe served as a staff member at 12 national and world scout jamborees. The organization holds national jamborees once every four years, with world jamborees between the national events. About 40,000 scouts, leaders and staff attend each such event, which lasts seven days. Staff members such as Briscoe play important roles in such events and often must be on site three to five days before the start of a jamboree. Staff members pay their own travel and other expenses for the event.

Briscoe remains active in many areas of scouting from the local to the state, national and international level. In 2005, Briscoe received the Volunteer Call to Service Award from President Bush in recognition of donating more than 4,000 hours of community service during his lifetime.

Briscoe earned his doctorate in sociology in 1993 at SIUC. While as SIUC, Briscoe was a graduate dean fellow, won a dissertation research award and also served as an instructor and lecturer in the Black American Studies Program. The SIUC College of Liberal Arts in 2003 named Briscoe a Distinguished Alumni.

At the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Briscoe became the first African-American man to receive the rank of full professor. He also served as past director of that university's Gerontology Center, member of the graduate school faculty and as a faculty senator to the university general assembly. In 2005 he became the first African American in Arkansas named as a distinguished member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He has published numerous research articles and papers, served on 70 doctoral dissertation committees and teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate course in sociology.